Federal Highway Administration names hydraulics lab in honor of Virginia Tech alumnus Sterling Jones

Jones in front of lab named in his honor.

Jones in front of lab named in his honor.

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 20, 2007 – After 34 years of service, J. Sterling Jones of Annandale, Va., recently retired from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

For ten of those years he managed the FHWA’s Hydraulics Research and Development Program and the FHWA Hydraulics Laboratory at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, Va.

At his retirement ceremony held at the TFHRC, the FHWA Hydraulics laboratory was renamed the J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Laboratory in recognition of his outstanding career with the administration.

Jones, a 1961 graduate of the civil engineering department at Virginia Tech, achieved numerous noteworthy accomplishments in his career. He was the recipient of the 2004 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Hydraulic Structures medal for significant contributions to the art and science of hydraulic engineering as applied to hydraulic structures. He was also named the FHWA Engineer of the Year for 2005 for his contributions and exemplary achievement in research and technology, resulting in major accomplishments and worldwide improvements in the practice of hydraulics and hydrology.

Recognized as a national and international expert in hydraulics, he was frequently called upon to review technical papers for professional journals and provide technical assistance and advice to the highway industry. He authored and coauthored dozens of papers and reports on hydraulics, bridge scour, and bridge management. He was also a major contributor to the FHWA Hydraulic Engineering Circulars, which are the basis for the National Highway Institute’s training courses on stream stability and bridge scour.

As manager of the Hydraulics Laboratory, Jones was involved in numerous physical and numerical model studies to resolve unique hydraulic problems and to improve technology. Some of his model studies included scour tests for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, to include potential effects of construction mishaps; and scour tests for the proposed bridge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a potentially dangerous situation existed for a major sanitary line near one of the planned bridge foundations.

Jones currently resides in Annandale with his wife Anne. Their three daughters include: Stephanie Jones, a 1989 industrial engineering and operations research graduate of Virginia Tech, and her husband Ron Zaperach, who reside in Patuxent River, Md.; Katherine Katzin and her husband Eugene, who reside in Takoma Park, Md.; and Geraldine Jones, a 1995 environmental sciences graduate of Virginia Tech, and her husband Matt Glick, a 1994 management science and computer-based decision systems graduate of Virginia Tech, who reside in Gum Spring, Va.